Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 | 6 a.m.
Andrea’s grand opening/Richard Corey
Andrea’s grand opening/Bryan Schnitzer
Kate Upton and Holly Madison/Richard Corey
It was a stunning and spectacular star-studded opening for Andrea’s, the vibe-dining Asian hotspot in the Encore, on Wednesday night, and hotel mogul Steve Wynn put it best when he declared, “Everything’s coming up roses!”
In fact, he ordered 16,000 roses at a cost of $30,000 to prove it. The order was so large, the hotel’s horticulturalists shipped them in from all over America to make two curtains of the floral arrangement. Seven thousand were used in a rehearsal, and 9,000 were used for the restaurant opening “curtain up” to reveal the eyes of Steve’s British wife, Andrea, for whom the restaurant is named.
Later at the bar, Steve told me: “It was my idea because everything is coming up roses. I wanted to be organic. I wanted to celebrate new beginnings. I wanted something like a theater’s opening night, and a curtain up with everything coming up roses seemed a perfect marriage.”
Hanging on his arm, Andrea added: “I had no idea he was naming the restaurant after me. I was very touched. It was a lovely gift.” Then she joked: “It’s definitely a hint for me to learn to cook because every now and again I put a salad in the oven. We had to open a restaurant because I don’t cook. We have a wonderful chef here at Andrea’s with an incredibly interesting menu, and I love Asian fusion. So whenever it’s time for me to make something, I’ll make a reservation.”
“Seriously, the roses were a lovely, feminine way to reveal my eyes. I’m going to put them all over the villa, on the floor, on the sofa, in the bedroom, and we’ll have a wonderful time. Only the petals -- no thorns allowed! It was a beautiful idea, all Steve’s, and I loved his other idea of having all the waiters and waitresses welcome the guests with champagne coming out of a giant, 14-foot replica champagne bottle.”
My notebook and tape recorder filled up faster with more confessions and gossip than chef Joseph Elevado could slice his sushi rolls! Our thanks to Denise Truscello and David Becker of WireImage for their fabulous photo gallery and to Richard Corey and Bryan Schnitzer for their videos posted on YouTube.
First, let’s report who was there. Steve and Andrea welcomed 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl Kate Upton and actresses Ashley Greene from “Twilight” and Krysten Ritter from “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23.” Kate, who will be back here on Valentine’s Day for the unveiling of the 2013 S.I. swimsuit issue, even went into the kitchen to help the chefs. Also partying were elegant model and actress Stacy Keibler (minus boyfriend George Clooney) and “Extra” host Maria Menounos.
Las Vegas was well represented by the radiant, glowing and very expectant Holly Madison, 2011 Playmate of the Year cutie Claire Sinclair, who opens in her show “Pin Up” at Stratosphere next month, and UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste.
“The Lord of the Rings” actor Elijah Wood doubled as guest DJ to entertain with DJ Afrojack and Andrea’s musical chef DJ Steve Angello. I ran into “Pawn Stars” stars Rick Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell, and both had stories to tell. Overlooking all with an air of confidence was Andrea’s operating partner Sean Christie, who runs the adjoining Surrender Nightclub, where all the stars wound up later to celebrate an Afrojack birthday party with Krysten and Ashley.
The glamour girls were a fashion designer’s dream: Kate wore Givenchy with Valentino shoes and a Comes With Baggage clutch; Ashley wore a DKNY leather top with matching shorts and a Comes With Baggage clutch; Maria wore Rebecca Taylor, Monika Chiang shoes and Nola Singer jewelry; Krysten wore a Dior dress and Brian Atwood shoes and carried a Jimmy Choo clutch; and Stacy rocked a Lanvin dress and Tory Burch shoes and carried a Jen Fischer bag.
Stacy is still dating handsome George, who launched his Casamigos Tequila at Andrea’s a week ago with business partners Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. He had to skip Wednesday celebration because of a film commitment in Europe.
It was a night of great gossip for me, as everybody was talking candidly.
‘PAWN STARS’ WEDDING: Rick told me he’s set a July 21 wedding date at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel in California with his fiancee Deanna Burditt. “We’re honeymooning in Scotland and Ireland because it will be too hot in Rome,” he told me. “We’re going there because it’s so green and beautiful -- our first time.
He also revealed that “Pawn Stars” is getting a U.K. edition, and the couple is flying there next month to film the first episode. While there, Deanna meets with her wedding dress designer to pick out the gown she’ll wear this summer.
CHUMLEE’S WEIGHT LOSS: Chumlee surprised me with his weight loss. “So far, I’ve dropped 50 pounds, and I’ve gone vegan,” he told me. “The hamburgers are done with, and I’m going to keep going. I don’t have a target -- just when I feel it’s right and I’m where I should be, and then I’ll eat a little more normally, but still watch it.
“I don’t want to ever go back to what I was!”
MICHAEL MORTON EXPANDING: Restaurateur Michael Morton, who owns La Cave at the Wynn, revealed that his first Downtown Mexican bistro will open in 90 days. “It’s La Comida, Mexican for the family meal,” he said.
“We’re in a 90-year-old building once used as a laundry beside the old El Cortez Hotel at 6th and Fremont beside Commonwealth.” Michael’s next project is set to be a second Strip restaurant and lounge.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH? I joined a fascinating conversation between former Lt . Gov. Lorraine Hunt and Southern Wine and Spirits chief Larry Ruvo; they told me that their 90-year-old-plus moms credit Crown Royal Maple with their longevity.
Lorraine’s mother is Larry’s mother’s sister, and he sends them both a bottle a month. “They swear by it to start the day, and they are proof it works.”
TROPICANA ENTERTAINMENT: Tropicana chief Alex Yemenidjian told me he has a number of weekend headline acts coming up soon for his main showroom and is developing a residency production with two Las Vegas show experts that might just involve “gorgeous girls and marvelous music.” The first weekend headliners will be legendary band Chicago over the Valentine’s Day holiday.
SINGLE KATE UPTON: Supermodel Kate said it was her first return visit to Las Vegas since being unveiled as the swimsuit issue cover girl here 11 months ago. It’s difficult to believe -- particularly because of the rumors linking her with Detroit Tigers star Justin Verlander -- that she says she has no boyfriend, and it’s tough to find one.
Kate was solo last night. She doesn’t know until the last minute if she’ll be the cover girl for a second consecutive year. “I don’t think you can have a boyfriend before the launch of Sports Illustrated,” she confided. “It was a whirlwind year for me after landing the cover -- a year to myself.”
PREGNANCY UPDATE: There can’t have been a more glowing and radiant mom-to-be than Holly Madison. She says she’s gained 30 pounds, but she looks incredible. Although that baby bump says “any moment now,” it won’t be until the first week of March.
Holly, now at 33 weeks, said she’s taking the first six weeks off after her baby daughter is born -- no name yet -- and then she’ll resume her showbiz plans. She’s been offered a reality TV series, “Bringing Up Baby,” with the newborn but would prefer to return to a Strip show singing and dancing.
FUTURE OF ‘FUNHOUSE’: Steve talked candidly with me about his new theater project “Funhouse” that we revealed here at Vegas DeLuxe in mid-November. “Funhouse is coming along great. We’ll have our first workshop of the entire show in March in the Encore Theater. It’ll be the first time I begin to see it come to life, but we’ve been talking about it all the time. We’ve assembled the world’s greatest all-star dream team to make this happen.
“It’s adorable the way it’s coming together with all new stuff. We’re finding a new kind of show for Las Vegas. We’ve had magic shows, we’ve had Cirque du Soleil. Now we have technology, so it’s time to use all of this and come up with a totally new vocabulary of a show.
“They loved my idea challenging them to make the unreal real, the impossible possible. They say they will pull it off. I ask them every week about it. I’ve seen the dancers. They are extraordinary, the most incredible 18 to 20 men and women I have ever seen in my life. Talk about all-stars; they are so beautiful.
“Ask me in March about it all when I get to see what they’ve done, see if it’s in good enough shape. If it’s enough and I have the confidence they can put it all together as the most unique and unusual show ever produced for Las Vegas, then I’ll go for the millions of dollars they’ll need to bring it to life in 2014. If not, then we’ll quit then and there. If they don’t deliver, I’ve lost what I’ve spent.
“I told them to take all the time you need, boys. Whenever you are ready. They picked the March date. They say they can fulfill what I dreamed. I ask them, ‘Are you going to do it?’ They say, ‘We’re no longer even close to what you wanted -- we’re so far beyond it.’ I am so excited; I can’t wait!
“Meantime, we’re just going to keep on expanding; 2013 is an expansion year.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Encore is nearly a mirror image of the Wynn Las Vegas, from the brown glass exterior to the style and placement of the logo — and it's just as luxurious as the original. Some call Encore the younger, hipper sister of Wynn.
Located steps from Wynn Las Vegas, yet under the same roof, Encore's fanciful and intimate atmosphere is unlike anything anywhere, with an environment that is uniquely Wynn and distinctly Encore.
Steve Wynn spared no detail in his newest property when designing Encore. The casino floor is decorated in rich reds, browns and purples with mosaic butterflies embedded into the marble floors and fresh flowers greeting guests in the casino atrium.
Luxury doesn't end of the casino floor. Encore boasts 2,034 impeccable guest rooms and suites. The standard suites resort accommodations are 700 square feet with the larger suites measuring in at 5,800 square feet. Standard suites guest rooms feature plasma screen TVs, high-end bath products, spectacular views of the Strip, and also plush linens and mattresses, which can be purchased in the Encore store, in case you can't get enough.
Dining options include Chef Theo Schoenegger's fine Italian cuisine at Chef Theo Schoenegger's, Sinatra's and the pan-Asian café creations of Chef Jet Tila at Wazuzu.
Guests can also dine on steaks and chops at star Botero Steak. At Switch, Encore's French restaurant, the walls come to life mid-meal and your surroundings appear to change before your eyes. For decadent, hip Asian dining before or after a night at one of resort’s ultra-chic nightclubs, visit Andrea’s, the newest dining experience at Encore.
XS headlines Encore's nightlife and pool party scene while Danny Gans takes care of humor and entertainment. Encore also features two of the most celebrated nightlife experiences in Vegas, XS Nightclub and Surrender. Both feature main room dance floors that flow outside to pools, patio spaces and gaming areas.
When the temperature rises, don’t miss Encore Beach Club, the premier daylife destination that features three tiered pools and luxurious cabanas and bungalows with private infinity pools.
Encore Esplanade features 11 high-end retail stores, with brands like Hermes, Chanel, Loro Piana and Rock, and Republic Piaget luxury watches. The resort also has a Forbes Five-Star spa, a salon and an 18-hole, on-site golf course, which is adjacent to the Wynn.